THE THEORY OF MIND AS PURE ACT - by Giovanni GENTILE
The ultimate exposition of 'Solipsism' by Italian 20th century philosopher Giovanni Gentile. Demanding yet thoroughly rewarding. Includes an Introductory Essay on the life and work of Gentile and other extras.
"What we have then to do here is to bring clearly into relief the character of this relation between the unity of the mind and the multiplicity of things, the exact nature of the mind's theoretical activity." Giovanni Gentile
The Philosophy of Solipsism: A superlative translation of Giovanni Gentile's stunning tour de force of philosophical thought that has not been published in English since 1922. 'The Theory of Mind as Pure Act' stands out as one of the most thought-provoking and rewarding works of philosophy of the modern age, ranking with classics such as Hegel's 'Phenomenology' and the 'Tractatus' of Wittgenstein. Gentile presents us with the most thorough-going solipsism, and only Fichte's 'Science of Knowledge' is comparable in the Absolute nature of its Idealism. The World is only a Monologue in our mind, and nothing outside us "really" exists in itself. Outlandish though this may sound, Gentile argues his points so cogently it is difficult to refute what he asserts with such forceful argumentation.
A Brief Extract: "What word is there, though it sound for an instant only in the secrecy of our soul; what grain of sand is there, buried it may be in the ocean depths; what star is there, imagined to exist beyond every possible limit, beyond all astronomical observation; which does not concur with, and which is not concentred in, that One in relation to which all is thinkable? What would our body be, our body as we represent it empirically, could we not think of it as a point around which the whole of nature which is indefinite gravitates?" [Click on Textual Extract for more by Gentile]
Features of this Edition: An Introductory Essay on Giovanni Gentile by Edouard d'Araille, about the life and work of this Italian thinker, not neglecting to discuss his relationship to the Fascist administration of the time and his friendship with Benedetto Croce; Brief Bibliography of his works - and of some about him; Original Translator's Note (1921) by H. Wildon Carr; Original "Dedication" to Benedetto Croce by Gentile; Three Author's Prefaces (to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions); Textual Annotations; Index of Names; Author's Portrait.
An Additional Extract: "Berkeley, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, expressed very clearly the following concept. Reality is conceivable only in so far as the reality conceived is in relation to the activity which conceives it, and in that relation it is not only a possible object of knowledge, it is a present and actual one. To conceive a reality is to conceive, at the same time and as one with it, the mind in which that reality is represented ; and therefore the concept of a material reality is absurd. To Berkeley it was evident that the concept of a corporeal, external, material substance, that is, the concept of bodies existing generally outside the mind, is a self-contradictory concept, since we can only speak of things which are perceived, and in being perceived things are objects of consciousness, ideas.
Berkeley with his clear insight remarked that "there is surely nothing easier than to imagine trees in a park, or books existing in a closet, and nobody being by to perceive them ; but in such case all that we do is to frame in our mind certain ideas, which we call books and trees, and at the same time omit to frame the idea of any one who may perceive them." It is not therefore really the case that no mind perceives them, the perceiver is the mind which imagines them. The object, even when thought of as outside every mind, is always mental. This is the point on which I desire to concentrate attention. The concept of the ideality of the real is a very difficult one to define exactly, and it did not in fact prevent Berkeley himself from conceiving a reality effectively independent of mind".